Ok, so some random tales: one cop buddy (different city from me) told of a call where a guy’s motion lights triggered, so he looked out to see what was up. Two guys crouched out by his car, and sparks throwing light shadows on the ground around the underside of his car from a third, evidently. He yells at to them to *GTFOOT, and one of the three stands up, points a pistol at him, and yells back: “go back inside, bitch!”. So I guess the guy does, posthaste, and the crew was gone in minutes, with only a cut out gap in his exhaust to show that they were there. The only reason the PD sent a squad is because of the brazenness of the weapons assault; the car would have been a report over the phone, if anything.
A good friend of ours in town here has had a car stolen twice in the last decade; we’ve given him a ride to the carcass both times. The deal there is that he’s a fan of Hondas, and necessarily drives older used iterations, and the cars from before 1999 or so are easy to steal, because a thief can just pop the plastic housing under the steering column off, yank the wheel to break the lock, and drive away using a screwdriver (this is open knowledge: I’m not trying to get el Jeffe shut down here). Both times his car (‘89 CRX Si and the civic coupe he bought to replace the CRX) was found abandoned in the same general part of town, with the batteries gone, and the cats cut out using whatever portable torch people use to cut metal. One car was up on concrete blocks and missing the wheels/tires, and the other was just dumped as-is, minus the battery and cat.
As an aside, all those spy movies where the protagonist wipes down prints with a cloth are BS. Real pros just spray the outside/inside handles, steering wheel and shift lever with WD-40, because the penetrating formula obliterates fingerprint oil on contact. Just so you know.
The guy with the office next to mine had his old, but reliable, corolla stolen in similar fashion. It was found abandoned on the outskirts of town, full of fresh needles, but minus the shiny bits (stereo, cat, battery).
I’m told by the ROs that the gig is to take an opportune car, use it for the drug trade (buy/sell/use/whatev; these peeps can put 300 miles on a car overnight!!) strip the stuff that can be taken in minutes, dump it; rinse, lather, repeat.
And it happens all the time. Probably the same 100 or so people in an urban area, operating nightly.
At least, that’s my understanding. But I’ve seen the exhaust cutout and WD-40’d surfaces with my own eyes.
Another interesting trend is “vehicle jugging” where gangs of crooks with be driving around, see someone put a backpack or messenger bag in the back seat or hatch of a car, and then follow them until a stoplight, metered onramp, or other “transitional” area (in vehicle terms, a chokepoint where the vehicle stops moving momentarily). One of the crew will jump out, smash in the glass, and grab the bag, then the car drives off in a direction impossible to immediately follow. They hang out at ATMs, phone stores, apple stores, malls, tech firms/companies… wherever one can expect people to be packing expensive shit.
Here’s a San Francisco theft of a bag that reportedly held laptops and a proprietary drone in it; the bangers saw the owners pack up the stuff and put it in the hatch as they left work:
*Get the F out of here